Review: Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Hi kiddie-winks,

As you’re all no doubt aware Halloween is just around the corner, barreling down on us like some sort of annual happening and I’ve had the big telly all to my self for a couple of days. I’ve used this time constructively by re-watching the first five Nightmare on Elm Street movies.

The thing about being a fan of a certain type of horror movie which was popular during the 70’s and 80’s is sometimes I have to be slightly apologetic, something along the lines of “Yes I know the script, acting, directing etc are awful but…” One of the exceptions to this rule I believe is Nightmare on Elm Street, part 3: The Dream Warriors, now if you’ve got a minute or two take a seat and I’m going to tell you why.

By way of pre-text, when it comes to Nightmare sequels it’s this “Pretend Part 2 never existed (Like Indie 4, or Star Wars 1 through 3).” It’s a pretty poor movie which ignores a lot of the lore created by the first movie. A discorporated Freddy Krueger possesses teenager Jesse Walsh to kill for him in the waking world rather than doing the killing himself in the dream world. Critics hated it, Wes Craven hated it, fans of the first film were kind of ambivalent, no one seems to like it but it still made a healthy return on it’s budget.

Dream Warriors sees Kristin Parker troubled by dreams of Freddy Krueger, following a dream-world chase through the now derelict house on Elm Street where Freddy was originally defeated by Nancy Thompson in the original movie Freddy catches Kristin and slashes her wrists with his claws. These wounds are mistaken by Kristin’s mother for self-harm and has Kristin committed to Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital where she is placed on a ward with several other teenage patients all suffering from sleep disorders caused by a certain man in a hat. As luck would have it Westin Hills has recently recruited a young psychology who specialises in dreams and sleep disorders, Freddy’s original nemesis Nancy Thompson, she reveals to the patients that they are “The last of the Elm Street kids” and does what she can to assist them in over-coming their dreams and once again defeating Krueger.

Wes Craven returned to take on writing duties of Nightmare on Elm Street 3 after being unhappy with the first sequel. After his original idea of having part 3 act as a meta-film where Krueger invaded the real world was rejected by New Line (Later made as New Nightmare.) Craven’s intention was that this film would be a conclusion to the Nightmare series and end the Franchise (Which he had never wanted in the first place), indeed it brings together and then ties up many of the loose ends from the original movie.

Along with the return of Wes Craven, Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon returned as Nancy and Donald Thompson, they are joined by an impressive cast which includes Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne and Emmy-winner Patricia Arquette in her cinematic debut. Robert Englund returns for the second time as series-antagonist Freddy Krueger riding the fine line between menace and dark comedy with evident relish.

Dream Warriors is the first of the Nightmare sequels to move away from the more traditional stalk and slash scares it’s genre in favor of the effect driven set-pieces of the later films although here it is used with some level of restraint unlike abominable scenes from later entries in the series such as “Super Freddy” or “You forgot the Power Glove”. there are some great practical effects on show some memorable death scenes including Freddy emerging from a Television to claim a victim and another victim being used as a living marionette strung up by his ligaments.

Easily dismissed through association with the later Nightmare sequels Dream warriors is my favourite entry in the series and probably my favourite horror movie. It does everything right, in my opinion setting the gold standard for both the Nightmare franchise and the horror movie genre itself. It is well written, thanks to the return of We Craven and later revisions by Frank Darabont with both memorable one liners and good dialogue. The characters are (for an eighties slasher-movie) well developed and believable. The practical and make-up effects are great and with the exception of some of the stop-motion work have aged well. The acting on show is well above par for a movie of this kind with good performances from Arquette and Langenkamp as well as possibly a career best performance from Robert Englund as begins to take Freddy further down the comedic path while still retaining an element of threat.

Unfortunately as the Nightmare series continued the set-pieces became more elaborate but also more slap-stick turning the character of Freddy Krueger into something more akin to an imitation or satire of the original portrayal before Englund’s final appearance as the character to date in Freddy V’s Jason returned some of the menace for one last hurrah.

While I’m the first to admit many films in the horror genre that I like and enjoy tend to be justified with the precursor “I know it’s bad but…” This is not the case with Dream Warriors I believe it is a genuinely good fantasy-horror movie which is since been repeatedly hamstrung by the diminishing quality of it’s own sequals.

By way of a post-script to get the most out of the Nightmare franchise consider watching 1, 3 and Freddy v’s Jason. three as I’ve already mentioned is pretty much a direct sequal to the original and FvJ contains many plot devices which recur from Dream Warriors including the return Westin Hills Psychiatric hospital and the use of dream suppressant Hypnocil, originally advocated in Part 3 by Nancy. Viewing of New Nightmare remains optional, It once again reunites Wes Craven, Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund and John Saxon I like it, many don’t.

Celebrity Cos-play

Big thanks to my sister for making me aware of this.  It turns Capcom have something chilling planned for lunatic dictator and world famous psycho crusher advocate M Bison in Super Streetfighter IV.   It would appear that in a move to make him even more disturbing to players designers are playing with the idea of making him look like B-celebrity pop-mime-ist Cheryl Cole!

I wouldn’t have believed it either had I not seen this shocking production photograph.

Bison as he appeared in SFIV
Bison as he appeared in SFIV
...and how he'll look in SSFIV.
...and how he'll look in SSFIV.

Yup, I’m scared too.

Mobile Telecommunication for a Flat Earth

The first things that I need to get across are 1)  I am a technophile, more to the point I love gadgets, I have a very real need for new things to play with on a regular basis.  2)  My mobile phone network of choice is Orange, not for any special reason, it’s just that that’s the one I landed on.  3)  My contract is due for renewal in July and I’m in the market for an upgrade.

While trying not to deviate from the righteous path of rant into the dark fields of viral marketing Nokia’s new N97 has me Greasy excited.

It would need to really, considering the last Nokia product I owned was a Gen 1 N95 which was so flaky I nearly ate it.  While in the bath. I eventually had a hissy fit with it in Blockbuster car park, took the battery out and refused to put it back in.  It was at this point I vowed I would never own another Nokia product.

But seriously God-damn that’s one awesome looking gadget!

So any way, I’m thinking woot!  awesome new toy just around the corner, let’s have a look at it  on the Orange website.  Hmm, not on the phones coming soon page, strange you’d think they’d have made more of a fuss about such an important product.  So I checked The Feed (Faux corporate blog), one entry, answered with possibly the most insulting, patronising answer a marketing drone could muster. Not the type of coverage you’d expect for a device being hailed as the next big step in mobile technology.

Finally, feeling defeated I turned to google for my answers.  The answer I found has left me disappointed, and will probably lead to my changing my service provider.  Among its many features the N97 has integrated 3G Skype support, meaning it would allow owners to talk for an unlimited amount of time for free, anywhere in the world.  This is no doubt making many mobile service operators tremble as should it catch on it would ultimately negate international call charges.

Using orange as an example, to call Australia using an Orange mobile phone costs a whopping 49 pence per minute!  Any where in the rest of the world other than the US, Australia or Europe costs almost a pound a minute.   At the moment therefore calling abroad from a mobile would only ever be a final option.  Using a Voice over Internet Protocol such as Skype however places all locations under one price-band.  zero pence per minute.  That’s only short term as well.  Should this trend continue, as VoIP phones become more main stream we will eventually see all call charges for become a thing of the past.

This doesn’t really relate to me at the moment.  There is no-one I really need to call livng overseas who I really need to talk to, VoIP isn’t yet so popular that I can abandon regular calling.  That isn’t and should never be the point though.  My point is that a company who I Choose to patronise is refusing to provide me with a product I want, and am willing to pay for because it cannot dictate to me the way the product will be used.

…All’s right with the world.

You know how it is when you spend so long waiting for something that eventually you stop checking?

A couple of years ago Hideaki Anno, Gainax and Studio Khara announced the Rebuild of Evangelion project. It’s aim to retell Neon Genesis Evangelion across four theatrical movies. The first three focusing on updating the original series with the addition of several new elements including new characters and at least two new EVA’s. The fourth film is intended to give the franchise an alternative ending(at least its fourth variation across all Media).

Grand plans indeed. The first of the four movies was released in September of 2007 and was pretty much a straight remake of the first six episodes of the series, none of Anno’s plans became apparent in the actual movie, its not until the teaser trailer for part two at thee end of the movie that there is anything for the fan to get greasey-excited about. Here we are treated to glimpses of a new Eva model. our first look at the redesign of Eva 02 and our first glimpse of a young girl with brown hair and spectacles who may or may not be a new pilot. Pretty exciting stuff.

Then things went quiet though. The originally planned release date of January 2008 came and went, anime magazine Newtype anounced that the film would now be released in December 2008, almost a whole year after the original date. October 2008 the official website published enigmaticly that the second film wouldn’t be released until “Early summer 2009”, it was starting to look like the rebuild project was going the same way as the ill-fated western Movie.

That’s what I thought any way, an as time went on I stopped checking, until today I tapped it into Google looking for a UK release date for Book 12 of the manga, what I found instead was a new trailer for the second movie, and a confirmed release date of June 27 2009.

While I realise that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, since I first saw the series I’ve loved it, it features a complexity to it’s characters that I find fascinating and while many of it’s themes are cod philosophy, psychology and theology at best it’s still probably more thought provoking than your average Dan Brown adaptation.  And it has giant robots (sort of), take that Hanks!

Why hit a Corgi?

Yes I know YouTube’s rife with stuff like this but I feel the need to push this on the world just cos it made me chuckle, also somebody’s got to continue supporting the Mon-stars of rock.

Also while you’re there check out the Saturday morning Watchmen video posted up by the same guy.  A tribute I feel more in tune with Alan Moore’s original intention for the material than the lackluster movie.

It is Time.

Don’t know how many of our regular or irregular readers were watching the Grammys last night, I’m thinking not all that many.

Green Day
Green Day

Right before the nominations for best album came the small piece of news that I, and many others have been waiting for for about the last five years.  Green Day‘s new album will be released in May this year, and it’s called 21st Century Breakdown.

No clues as to what to expect musically, though if you follow the link above to the official site and sit around for a while the opening bars of something which may (or may not) be the title track start playing.

Since American Idiot the band have parted ways with their long time producer Rob Cavallo who has worked with the band since from Dookie to AI. 21st CB will instead be produced by Butch Vig.  Formerly the Drummer of grunge band Garbage Vig has been working as a producer since the early eighties, and his credits include Nirvana’s Nevermind and Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream.  He has also worked on albums with Soul Asylum, Sonic Youth and Jimmy Eat World (Every CV needs a black mark).

Speaking with UK music magazine NME in December last year Billie Joe Armstrong suggested that the then un-named album could be taking a more power-pop direction, naming Cheap Trick, The Who and The Beatles as possible influences.  In a surprisingly honest interview Armstrong said “How do you take something… and try to expand on the idea of what is supposed to be three-chord mayhem?”

“How do you do it in a way where the arrangements are just unpredictable? So I’m pushing myself to be progressive in songwriting and being a songwriter.”

The new Album cover-art.  Similar in style to the single artwork from American Idiot.
The new Album cover-art. Similar in style to the single artwork from American Idiot.

As a Green Day fan, what does all this mean to me?  The change in style suggestion isn’t really all that shocking considering that it is possible to listen to any of the five albums from Dookie to American Idiot and find something musically different, though still very much Green Day, will anything from the new album be as much a departure as the segue from Eastern European folk to Mexican Mariachi in Misery from Warning?  I’m thinking possibly not.

I’ve been a Green Day fan for about fifteen years now, since a friend passed me a tape with Dookie on one side, and Kerplunk on the other.  While some bands never change I’ve seen Green Day grow and mature as I’ve grown and matured I’ve seen them come from the music of the minority to making an Album which has topped Charts the world over.  The only concern I have at the moment is when tickets for the obligatory World Tour go on Sale.